Many people eat out and it is easy to see why.
Cooking for your family every day can be a chore. First, you have to plan your meals, do up a shopping list and buy all the ingredients you need. Food preparation - all that washing and chopping - comes next, followed by the cooking process itself.
And it doesn't end there. You have to wash the dishes after that.
In comparison, buying a meal outside is a breeze. The most "work" you do is, perhaps, finding a table or queueing for your food. Plus, there are plenty of delicious and affordable options around.
This is why about 60 per cent of Singaporeans eat out at least four times a week, according to the latest national data.
It's good business, but maybe not that good for health. Dining out can promote weight gain, studies show.
In a review of 28 studies by United States researchers, all but one concluded that the more you eat out, the more weight you gain.
Food trends are also to blame, noted industry experts. For instance, portion sizes have increased over the past few decades. Soft drinks, which are high in sugar, are also more popular today, as are fast food meals.
Other factors include the trend of dual-income households and the longer work hours that people put in. Not to mention, having a meal outside is also viewed as a social activity. It's the time for us to catch up with friends and explore new cuisine.
But eating out doesn't mean you have to go all out. The key is to choose the healthier option - or, in other words, the lesser evil.
Swop deep-fried meat for grilled or baked ones, choose noodles in soup rather than the dry versions, as those are often tossed in oil. Add less dressing or sauce on your food or share that dessert with a friend.
You don't have to eat like a bird, but don't eat like a horse either.
This article was first published on November 6, 2014.
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